2017 – 18 Courses

Courses can be run for small groups on Fridays during term time (up to 12) at our venue in Langford . We can also run courses at your venue. Enquiries to

Developing Excellence in Reading at KS2: effective approaches to developing reading comprehension

Course Leaders:  Nikki Gamble, Sam Keeley

Audience: English co-ordinators, class teachers

This is available as a 3 day course with gap tasks. Shorter courses can also be run. Please enquire for details.

This comprehensive, practical, interactive course focuses on the teaching of comprehension at KS2. The content draws on a two-year research project managed by Just Imagine Director, Nikki Gamble for the London School Excellence Fund and on work undertaken for Guiding Readers: Developing Effective Approaches to Reading Comprehension (UCL 2016).

We start with an overview of the model of comprehension that underpins the National Curriculum, drawing on insights from recent research as well as school based and LA wide projects to demonstrate what works. We make a clear distinction between the teaching approaches needed for developing reading comprehension and for the assessment of reading. Test preparation is addressed and considered in this context.

Content includes:

  • Understanding comprehension and inference
  • Selecting texts and mapping the potential of the text
  • The most effective evidence based strategies including reciprocal reading strategies, visualisation, use of graphic organisers, text marking, think aloud and other cognitive strategies.
  • Robust vocabulary instruction
  • Comprehending fiction, non-fiction and poetry
  • Assessment
  • Auditing and action planning

Delegates will receive copies of:

  • Nikki Gamble 4XR: Developing Excellence in Reading (2016) (worth £25)
  • Wayne Tennent, David Reedy, Angela Hobsbaum, Nikki Gamble (2016) Guiding Readers 7 – 11: a handbook for teaching comprehension UCL (worth £24.99)

Word Study: vocabulary and spelling development

Course leader: Nikki Gamble, Sam Keeley

Audience: English co-ordinators, class teachers

Informed by up-to-date research and exemplification from across the primary years, this one day course presents a blended approach to word study. Delegates will explore the best ways to teach vocabulary for reading and for writing, and the most effective approaches to teaching spelling.  This interactive course will include practical workshops demonstrating games and strategies.

Content includes:

  • What we know about vocabulary acquisition and development
  • Blended practice – teaching individual words, word learning strategies, word consciousness
  • Identifying words for teaching
  • Spelling – the skills needed for good spelling
  • Games and resources


The Reading School: reading for pleasure, for purpose and for wisdom

Course Leaders Sam Keeley, Caroline Bradley

Audience: English Co-ordinators, School Librarians

This course is designed for schools looking to implement systemic change regarding the place of reading in and beyond the curriculum. It proposes working with drivers that are known to be most effective in creating and sustaining change. The day is structured around 6 major strategies for developing an outstanding reading school

  • Developing text knowledge
  • Developing pedagogic knowledge
  • Creating independent readers – the reading journey
  • Parental engagement
  • Reading environments – why carpets and cushions are not enough
  • Selection and organisation of resources
  • Celebration of reading
  • Delegates will receive a copy of Exploring Children’s Literature: reading for pleasure and purpose (worth £24.99)


Love Your Library

Course Leader: Caroline Bradley

Audience: School librarians, teachers with responsibility for library development

Caroline Bradley leads this course on making the most of the primary school library. This interactive session is packed with practical ideas for placing the library at the heart of the school. Content includes:

  • Giving the library a makeover
  • Organising and managing the library
  • Using the library to promote independent reading
  • Ways to develop knowledge about books


Book Banding Workshop

Course Leaders: Dawn Morris, Sam Keeley

Audience: English co-ordinators, School Librarians

This short workshop is designed to meet the needs of schools that are reviewing or introducing book banding. It is suitable for schools that are planning on overhauling their book bands to provide consistency. The workshop will provide an overview of the book banding process using the London Institute of Education Book Band criteria. The practical session will include exemplification with benchmark books for each of the bands.

  • Delegates will receive a copy of Sue Bodman (2014) Which Book and Why UCL (worth £31)


Take One Book

Course Leaders: Nikki Gamble, Sam Keeley

Audience: English co-ordinators, class teachers

To coincide with the launch of our new website, this course looks at planning a creative curriculum around a class book. We will present a planning framework and worked examples from the Take One Book project. Creative techniques for developing responses to texts and writing opportunities will be shared. Delegates will have the opportunity to plan their own units for the classes/year groups with support from course leaders. Advice on books for topics will be given and can be discussed in advance of the training to make the day as productive and purposeful as possible.

This course is available from the beginning of the Spring term 2018, when Take One Book website will be officially launched.


Enquiries and booking

All enquiries

Telephone: 01621 855862